This is the recent vicars letter, which features in the recent edition of the Parish Magazine, which is available in church.
A letter from the Vicar OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2012
A letter from the Vicar October-November 2012
You are probably reading this soon after Back to Church Sunday, which takes
place across the country in many different churches every year on the last
Sunday in September. The idea behind it is that three million non-churchgoers
in the UK report that they would be happy to give church a try, but no one has
invited them. So at St Mary’s, we are issuing as many personal invitations as
we can both to newcomers and to people who may have stopped attending
church for one reason or another.
Why do people stop going to church? Sometimes they get fed up with
someone or about something, sometimes they have a crisis of faith, but
frequently they simply drift away because there are so many other things going
on in their lives and no one seems to miss them or follow them up. A number
of people at St Mary’s, some of them long-standing members and some much
more recent attenders, have been taking part in a course called “Everybody
Welcome” to find out how we can make our church community easy to enter
and join on Back to Church Sunday or at any other time.
We’ve had to look at ourselves quite critically by filling in checklists of very
challenging questions. They cover many areas and include the following:
How easy would you personally find it to invite someone to come to church?
Do people in need turn to your church for help?
How effective are your notice boards, website, welcome pack and magazine?
How are the entrances, sound system, lighting, toilets, chairs and refreshments?
Is provision made for people with special needs?
Does your church service make you spiritually alive?
Are the adults friendly to and tolerant of children?
Are people missed when they stop coming and is something done about it?
………… and so on – dozens of questions to make us really think. Every
church I have ever attended has been sure that it was a welcoming church, but
sometimes that just means “the church where I have friends” and not “a church
that is easy for newcomers to feel at home in”. So we are trying to be very
specific about the things we need to do better if we really want to turn strangers
into friends and fellow pilgrims.
Many of our regular magazine readers will know St Mary’s as a venue for
children’s classes, youth clubs, yoga, summer lectures, jazz evenings, classical
music, barn dances, designer fairs and a cold weather shelter for the homeless.
We are delighted to be at the heart of Primrose Hill community life in all these
ways. And we hope that many of those who come through our doors will also
find it to be a place of encounter with God.
We invite you to drop in on any weekday from 9 am (on Tuesdays from 8 am)
to 2.30 pm to have some quiet time. Or stop by for a coffee on Thursday
mornings and stay for a short service of healing at noon. Or come to a service
on a Sunday – a quiet, traditional service of Holy Communion at 8 am or a
formal choral eucharist (with provision for children) at 10.30 every week. On
the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month we have a short, very informal eucharist
for families with young children. And there are regular services of Evensong,
Compline and contemplative prayer on Sunday evenings – check our website
for details at www.stmarysprimrosehill.com. Whenever you come through
our doors, we hope to make you truly welcome!